Lawmaker Calls for Reform in Makeup of Wisc. Medical Examining Board After Panel Lightly Punishes Doctors from Fake Sick Note Scam

MacIver News Service | November 17, 2011
[Madison, Wisc….] State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) reacted with what he called “extreme displeasure” at the light punishment handed out to doctors who earlier this year were caught by the MacIver News Service  passing out obviously fraudulent excuses for protesters who were calling in sick.

“It is important that people have confidence in the integrity of their doctors,” said Grothman.  “If a medical provider provides phony excuses for friends and political allies, how do we know these same doctors are not making up fraudulent excuses for cases involving workers compensation, personal injury claims, or falsely prescribing prescription drugs?”

The doctors reprimanded Wednesday and who issued fake sick notes to anyone who wanted one, with only a cursory question and answer ‘session’ are:

Adam H. Balin
Mark B. Beamsley
Hannah M. Keevil
Bernard F. Micke
Kathleen A. Oriel
James H. Shropshire
Louis A. Sanner

Ronni L. Hayon and Patrick A. McKenna had received administrative warnings and were involved in the same incident.

The MacIver News Service broke this story and has video evidence of many of the ‘examinations’ that show the brevity of the interactions and the questions asked. Dr. Sanner even chastized our reporter for violations of patient privacy laws by taping the exams which took place in front of tens of thousands of people on a public sidewalk across from the Wisconsin State Capitol.

These fraudulent esick notes were not without financial damage to employers, Grothman noted. Further, many school boards and taxpayers, who perhaps had to pay for substitute teachers or parents who were forced to pay for daycare or miss work when schools were needlessly closed the Senator said.

“I would have expected at least a month’s loss of license for so brazenly making up excuses for people who wanted a day off,” said Grothman.  “It is also disappointing the University of Wisconsin has not independently suspended doctors under their purview.  This will only perpetuate a stereotype that the UW is just concerned about keeping their well-paid employees getting a paycheck and the Medical Examining Board is more concerned about protecting the paychecks of unethical and unscrupulous doctors than maintaining integrity in the medical profession.”

The Medical Examining Board is currently made up of 12 members, only three of which are not members of the medical community.

“It is clear the Good Old Boy Network is too prevalent on the Medical Examining Board and the State Legislature should act to include more private citizens who will express greater concern for fundamental ethics in medicine and restore the public’s confidence in this state licensing board,” said Grothman.  “Perhaps two new members that are employers who have to suffer the consequences of doctors who frivolously approve sick claims will help provide some semblance of balance to the Board.”

Read the original MacIver News report and watch the video that instantly turned this incident into national news in February.